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By Amanda Lee Myers
The Associated Press
PHOENIX — Jury selection began Wednesday in the murder trial of a man who is accused along with two accomplices of terrorizing the Phoenix area with a series of shootings that preyed on people, dogs and horses as he fired from his Toyota Camry.
The first set of potential jurors in the trial of "Serial Shooter" suspect Dale Hausner has been whittled to about 40 people, but hundreds more are expected to go through the initial vetting process in coming days.
The process could take weeks, because several hundred potential jurors in the highly publicized case will have to be screened before a panel is finally seated.
Hausner has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder and dozens of other charges.
Hausner, who is being held without bail, appeared in court in a gray dress shirt. Defense attorney Tim Agan said his client "seems to be fine."
Among the witnesses expected to testify at trial is Samuel Dieteman, who is accused of helping Hausner with the crimes and who pleaded guilty in April to two murders.
Dieteman has said in court that he rode with Hausner while the two cruised neighborhoods in search of "just random, senseless destruction."
Prosecutors say Hausner carried out random attacks over 14 months starting in May 2005, helped by Dieteman and brother Jeff Hausner, who has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and aggravated assault. A trial date hasn't been set.
Dale Hausner and Dieteman could face the death penalty. Dieteman has said he won't fight his sentence if a jury recommends death.
"He can never fix things, but this is one way that he can right the wrongs," said Dieteman's lawyer, Maria Schaffer.
The "Serial Shooter" case was one of two serial murder investigations that put the Phoenix area on edge in 2006. The "Baseline Killer" is thought to have killed nine people in attacks that began in 2005.
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Mark Goudeau was convicted in the Baseline case - named for a street where some of the earliest crimes were committed - of 19 counts stemming from sexual assaults and was sentenced to 438 years in prison. He still faces trial on charges including nine murder counts.